Friday, October 23, 2009

The Week in Review

A busy week for me. I've been writing a lot, just not so much on my blogs. I feel a bit bad about that - I branched out and then cut back the time I'm willing to spend. But I know it's only temporary. (Well, everything is only temporary, isn't it?)

I'm taking another fiction class, because I find the external structure is the best way to make myself accountable to producing new writing. I'm also gearing up towards writing the first draft of my first novel in November. Not exactly a Nanowrimo, but loosely aiming for their guidelines. As a few writers have pointed out, November may not be the BEST month what with Thanksgiving and travel and all. But, hey, maybe the family gatherings will yield some bonus material.

I've also stepped up my yoga practice. After teacher training ended, I took a bit of a break. More than anything, I've been hesitant to spend so much time away from the family (training took A LOT of weekend time!) and I've eschewed daytime classes in favor of work. But now I'm back in two to three classes a week on a regular basis, and I'm committing to my own Ashtanga practice at home.

(If you don't know, Ashtanga is a type of yoga that basically follows a set list of poses. It's quite physically demanding, with almost constant motion plus an emphasis on both strength and correct form. You do the practice repeatedly, learning and building ability by returning to it over and over. The entire sequence, if done properly, takes a long time. Several hours, probably. I'm still only doing abridged and modified versions.)

I also realized that I need to give myself more time around people. So I returned to volunteering once a week and also made time for lunch with my parents. Throw in a couple of playdates with the kids' friends, the homework/dinner/chores triumvirate of every evening, and tutoring T two or three times each week, and you can see that my days go pretty quickly.

But now it's the weekend. The kids are off to grandma's; Shawn and I have a nice romantic evening planned; and we have the whole two days to sleep late, clean up, do projects, and visit family. Hope you get to recharge as well!

Monday, October 19, 2009

all that carries weight and always weighs the same

I wrote a paper on this poem in grad school. I've always found a lot to like in Auden. Came across some Greek mythology lately and thought of this.

The Shield of Achilles

by W. H. Auden

She looked over his shoulder
For vines and olive trees,
Marble well-governed cities
And ships upon untamed seas,
But there on the shining metal
His hands had put instead
An artificial wilderness
And a sky like lead.

A plain without a feature, bare and brown,
No blade of grass, no sign of neighborhood,
Nothing to eat and nowhere to sit down,
Yet, congregated on its blankness, stood
An unintelligible multitude,
A million eyes, a million boots in line,
Without expression, waiting for a sign.

Out of the air a voice without a face
Proved by statistics that some cause was just
In tones as dry and level as the place:
No one was cheered and nothing was discussed;
Column by column in a cloud of dust
They marched away enduring a belief
Whose logic brought them, somewhere else, to grief.

She looked over his shoulder
For ritual pieties,
White flower-garlanded heifers,
Libation and sacrifice,
But there on the shining metal
Where the altar should have been,
She saw by his flickering forge-light
Quite another scene.

Barbed wire enclosed an arbitrary spot
Where bored officials lounged (one cracked a joke)
And sentries sweated for the day was hot:
A crowd of ordinary decent folk
Watched from without and neither moved nor spoke
As three pale figures were led forth and bound
To three posts driven upright in the ground.

The mass and majesty of this world, all
That carries weight and always weighs the same
Lay in the hands of others; they were small
And could not hope for help and no help came:
What their foes like to do was done, their shame
Was all the worst could wish; they lost their pride
And died as men before their bodies died.

She looked over his shoulder
For athletes at their games,
Men and women in a dance
Moving their sweet limbs
Quick, quick, to music,
But there on the shining shield
His hands had set no dancing-floor
But a weed-choked field.

A ragged urchin, aimless and alone,
Loitered about that vacancy; a bird
Flew up to safety from his well-aimed stone:
That girls are raped, that two boys knife a third,
Were axioms to him, who'd never heard
Of any world where promises were kept,
Or one could weep because another wept.

The thin-lipped armorer,
Hephaestos, hobbled away,
Thetis of the shining breasts
Cried out in dismay
At what the god had wrought
To please her son, the strong
Iron-hearted man-slaying Achilles
Who would not live long.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Sitting in Starbucks, working and grooving to the catchy ever present tunes.

I just met Goldberry Long, author of Juniper Tree Burning. She's a lovely person, glowing with energy and intent on her writing. We chat about growing up eighties and wearing designer jeans.

I leave her alone and turn to my grants as I can tell that she is trying to sink into writing mode. She has that slightly anxious air of the writer who needs to tune into her deeper self.

I wonder if I will run into her again. Will we become friends? I have a growing collection of books signed by their authors and an even more vibrant collection of friends who write.

I think I'll buy her book. It promises to be lyric and moving. Maybe she will sign it for me.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Modern Love

Heard this is a movie last night. I can't turn around now without tripping over another great song from my high school days. I'm collecting as many of them as I can.

Especially songs like this one, not necessarily my favorites or the first to come back to mind, but absolutely part of the soundtrack of that time.

Check out the fun concert wackiness. geez. Was that really "style?"

Monday, October 12, 2009

From Faith to Theft to Shopping

Today, I am back to an "old-school" schedule - AM yoga class, then working at the close-by cafe. The cafe has just about finished a remodel and feels welcoming again. Cinnamon tiles, warm wooden paneling and tables, and navy, pumpkin and ecru walls generate a crisp feel of purposefulness. I love that each table is filled with people like me, chatting or working away at text or laptop, and providing welcome distraction each time I glance up.

However, I'm not working too long today. I've decided that I get to spend part of each day doing the errands and being out and about in the world without dragging tired children along. It's just more efficient to shop quickly without them. I'll come back to my work in the evenings, and have something to do while they do their homework. It's good for them to see me working and to share that with them. Otherwise I'm just sitting there with them, doing nothing but helping with math problems. That's not my best use of time since I already passed all my math classes.

We had a fabulous and interesting weekend. Went to church again. We've joined the one in our neighborhood where most of our neighbors attend. It's so close, we walk, much to everyone else's admiration. Really, it's just a pleasant stroll through the lovely fall morning.

On Saturday, I wrangled a date for my children with my parents. Called up and said, you must take them; Shawn and I NEED time. They love each other and delight to visit so that was all good. Then the husband and I had a fabulous date - silly movie, evening stroll, hot cocoa, twinkling lights, ultra romantic courtyard lounge complete with outdoor fires spouting like magic from chunks of glass. Fire and ice with a kicker of vodka.

I came away from the weekend feeling ever so much better. Hopeful again and more settled. Faith-filled. Deciding to just let things be good. Instead of wanting anymore, I am simply being. Acting as if what I want is already in place and happening.

Which actually it is, to an astonishing degree.

Yesterday, we witnessed a robbery. High drama in our small town. A troubled teen stole the tip jar from our favorite donut shop worker. He really could not have been more lame. First, he hung around for more than 20 minutes so we all saw him really clearly. Then he borrowed the shop's phone to call his father, leaving said parent's number behind on phone's memory. Then he stole the jar and ran straight back home to his nearby apartment complex. The girls were a bit scared; Shawn was furious and chased him for a while. The donut shop worker called the police and we gave our statements.

I feel so bad for that kid for making such a stupid choice. It's pretty clear that he called his (absent) father in the next county and wanted his attention. When he didn't get it, he decided to act out his anger/frustration/need for love/whatever through theft. Now he'll have his dad's attention, especially since the donut shop worker called his father and told him the whole story. That took an extra couple of hours out of the day.

Still though, we made it a good life lesson for the girls. Like, duh, doesn't it seem really stupid to steal? Also got to model for them how to be a caring neighbor and do the right thing.

I'm helping Shawn with some research for his grad class today, so before I get into that, I get to go shopping! Now that the weather is so lovely, cool and blessing us with drizzle, I can use some new jeans. Also, I want a leopard scarf. To go with my awesome sweater and bracelet and shoes. Then I'll have the fifties flavored ensemble.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Broken Appointment

I have loved Hardy's poetry since I was in high school, and had to analyze "Neutral Tones" for a college placement exam. I do find him unbearably depressing. But sometimes that just exactly fits the mood.

A Broken Appointment
by Thomas Hardy

You did not come,
And marching Time drew on, and wore me numb,—
Yet less for loss of your dear presence there
Than that I thus found lacking in your make
That high compassion which can overbear
Reluctance for pure lovingkindness’ sake
Grieved I, when, as the hope-hour stroked its sum,
You did not come.

You love not me,
And love alone can lend you loyalty;
–I know and knew it. But, unto the store
Of human deeds divine in all but name,
Was it not worth a little hour or more
To add yet this: Once you, a woman, came
To soothe a time-torn man; even though it be
You love not me?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Joy Overcoming

I've been reflecting a lot lately - on life, my blog, depression, friends, meaning.

It comes to this:

You can be on the side of negative energy, or you can be with the positive energy. It's really that simple. Today I've seen some stuff online - injustice, pettiness, callousness - that made me feel physically ill with its ugliness.

And I've seen pure, raw beauty. People opening their hearts through their words and becoming a connection point for others.

We all have joys and hardships. But which will we choose to highlight?

Phillipa over at Green Ink took a terrible sorrow and used it to write a luminous, love-filled post that is a testament to everything beautiful in life. She is the kind of person I want to know, and an example of the energy I want to put into this world.

Because, as her post demonstrates, we are all connected in ways that we don't even understand.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009

Take All of It Under Consideration

Dear reader,

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Whether you are first time or regular, I ask this favor: Please read all the posts for at least a month before you judge me or my blog. Each post can only capture one mere fraction of the larger picture. Taken together, you might get closer to what I am trying to say.

I appreciate your interest and your time.

Blogging and Reading

Dearest readers -
I've been thinking a lot about this blog lately. I'm feeling quite a bit of guilt at vomiting up my personal traumas and the roller coaster ups and downs of my life. I mean, it's so wonderful that you care, and that you've stuck with me through this turn towards the darkness.

But it seems somewhat unfair.

My writing here is unpredictable. One day it's cheerful, the next literary, the next traumatic.

My friend Michelle said something that really struck home with me. I offered to give one of her books away to my readers and she replied that she was only targeting "book blogs." Now I understood what she meant, and why. And it's perfectly valid. It was a nice way of saying that she's looking for focused blogs with stronger readerships.

But a little part of me went, Wait, my blog is a "real" blog. My blog matters.

Then I started to reflect on just how much this blog is all over the place. Because I am ALL over the place. And this blog reflects me.

Which is awesome. Nothing wrong with that. I started this blog to "begin" and I did. For a year , I've practiced and now - I'm ready to branch out.

So starting this month, I will be focusing my writing into themed blogs. Addresses will follow in a few weeks. I'll assign the aspects of my varied life into different topics, so that readers to each blog can find subjects of consistent interest to them. ( And you won't be scared by nasty stories when you're only looking for a little happy boost! Those of you needing companionship in the horrors of life can find that on my Heartbreak Blog.)

This blog will stay here (because I can never bear to destory records from the past) and I'll still be writing here when I want to just ramble, to write primarily for my own benefit.

But no longer will you have to be subjected to lengthy explorations of my life. Because honestly, you've got your own life you're living and I bet it's way more engaging to you.

Thanks, though.

Making the Right Decision - For Me

Writing those words yesterday, I already knew what I wanted to do. I could feel my deepest self whispering steadily.

By the time I was in the park, sitting on the cool grass and watching the play of sunshine and shadow across the flowers and trees, I knew my decision.

I will not contact the police. I will move above this and past it, not miring my life in a looping story of pain and victimhood. It is just not in line with my own deepest values.

I value love and compassion. Forgiveness. New starts. Deeper meanings. The rebirth of the best of each of us.

Whether or not David achieves that in his life is irrelevant. If I work against my deepest values, I only harm myself.

I understand that I have indeed experienced a tremendous amount of pain and harm, some from others, some from my own choices. This blog has become my tool to express and explore all the aspects of my self, including the shadow stories that I would perhaps rather avoid. Instead I have been bravely and steadfastly exposing them, excavating them, bringing them into the light and letting myself accept them for the part of me that they are.

They are not the sum of me, and they are not unimportant. They need to take their rightful place in the happy life that I am staking my claim to with each day.

My husband seconded my decision not to pursue legal avenues. This surprised me quite a bit. I know he has seethed with anger over his inability to protect me. But he reminded me that our legal system, as it now stands, is not about fairness, or justice, or even truth. It's about power and who can take control of the story, bending it to their ends.

He's right. If I give them my story, they will take it and use it with complete disregard for my best interests. I've seen that happen to victims and criminals alike. In fact, there's a very fine line between the two in the system, and one will often be treated like the other. Think about it.

Instead, I will retain the only right to tell my own story. I reserve the right to change and grow. I allow myself to be furious. I allow myself to forgive. As I need.

Because that is what feels right to me.

Rise Above This

I can, and I will.